A Sad Christmas Tale

                                                         A Sad Christmas Tale

TOMORROW will mark my final signing of 2017 with WHSmith, back in my home city of Stirling, and I’m really looking forward to it.

This is also the last outing of my four stop Christmas 2017 tour and I’m delighted to say I followed up sales of 56 and 62 at Edinburgh Gyle and Paisley with a tour PB of 63 at Glasgow Argyle Street.

Signing Pic

But while sales at Argyle Street were great there was one very poignant moment in the big smoke that really brought it home how lucky we are to have family around us at this special time of the year.

I was engaging an elderly couple in conversation and telling them all about my third book in the Thoroughgood Series: ‘The Longest Shadow’, which is based on the oldest unsolved murder in the Scottish Cold cases unit, the 1942 murder of a Wren called Gertrude Canning at Inverarary.

As I explained, the backdrop behind this murder was the Allies disastrous attempt to take the French Port of Dieppe and as an aside I asked if the couple had seen the film of Dunkirk, which I was lucky enough to view in the summer.

Subsequently I could see the lady was becoming emotional and she then revealed that she had not seen Dunkirk, nor would ever watch it, because her father had been one of the first casualties involved in the action there.

He had been a member of an Artillery unit charged with blowing bridges and laying cover as the BEF retreated towards the beaches and was tragically killed without ever making the sand dunes never mind seeing the white cliffs again.

What made it even more poignant was that the elderly lady had been only two when her father had left for France and had no memory of ever meeting him.

Tragically, she added that a fear of flying and water meant she would never make the trip to see her father’s grave in France….I must admit at this point I struggled to keep the tears back….

I love getting out there and talking to people and finding out what interests them and as we have just seen you never know what you will come across.

But the memory of that chat with the lady last week will stay with me forever and has certainly left me, at a time when sadly I have just lost my father-in-law, who was one of the most kind-hearted men I have ever known, with a fresh sense of perspective on what really matters.

So with Christmas almost upon us can I thank everyone who has bought copies of my books on my various signing tours with WHSmith, taken time to vote for me in The People’s Book Prize and taken the opportunity to have a chat with me, somewhere in the UK over this last year.

I’d also like to thank all the staff at WHSmith for their help and support over the 12months…it has been invaluable.

But…..if you are looking for a last minute Christmas present of a unique nature then why not head to WHSmith Stirling, in The Thistles Centre, between 11am and 3pmish tomorrow…I’ll be waiting!!!

Adios and the season’s best to you all!


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Drama & A Christmas No 1 in Paisley

                                               Drama & A Christmas No 1 in Paisley!

I’M delighted to say that the second stop on my WHSmith pre-Christmas 2017 tour boasted a 62 books sale signing that has taken me #TopOfThePops in Paisley this winter!

I’ve always done well with my signings there and found that the people of Paisley have a real passion for crime. So it proved again for a second week after my first signing at The Gyle Centre also saw me break the half century with something to spare.

Below GM Dee puts her stamp on the #StirlingScribbler!


Paisley Punch

But while I was really pleased with the friendly reaction of the punters at WHSmith, and the fact that so many people took the time to say they were glad to see me again after my last visit back in May, things also took a turn for the dramatic.

I make a habit of putting out tweets, FB posts and Linked-In messages prior to, during and after my signings, based on observations, interactions and things that interest me on the day.

On Saturday, before my signing, I happened to put out a post with a few pics of Paisley town centre in its full festive market glory (the pic below doesn’t do St Mirren’s town justice) and mentioned the superb singing of a busker, who was serenading the Paisley punters with a brilliant version of the Oasis hit ‘Wonderwall’, when I arrived.

Paisley 2

Later on at night when I had got home I found a message on my Linked-In page asking if I could describe the busker. Sadly the enquiry was based on the fact that a person who performed in similar circumstances had gone missing and the individual who contacted me was a concerned relative.

Sadly the description I provided confirmed that the busker I was lauding was not the man in question…but it certainly brought home to me just how powerful social media is and has also thrown up some intriguing thoughts in terms of future writing.

I very much hope, particularly at this time of the year, that the family involved will be re-united with their loved one and that he will realise how much he is being missed by them.

Anyway I’m back out on the third stop of my tour with WHSmith at Argyle Street, Glasgow tomorrow and thoroughly looking forward to the trip…not least because a curry and a few beers will be consumed with some ex-comrades-in-blue of mine afterwards!

Glasgow at Christmas time is a great place to be out and about in and the humour and bustle of the people is something that makes any book signing always go quickly.

As ’12-years-a-Glasgow-cop’ it is amazing how many familiar faces I come across at my Glasgow signings and with a bit of luck it will be the same again tomorrow between 11am & 3pm in WHSmith, Argyle Street.

Remember I will have a little present of my own waiting for you, a free taster booklet of my new book ‘The Shadow Of Fear’ is yours when you purchase one of my other titles!


Like crime fiction at its most gritty or need a Christmas present for a book-loving relative or friend…you know where I am!!






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